Blog to Book Project — Look Inside the Book

Look Inside is a tool you can use to your advantage on Amazon. It allows readers to actually look inside (hence the name) your book. It’s actually a piece of cake to get it set up because Amazon does it for you! 

When you publish through KDP, your book is automatically enrolled in the program. Within a week of your book being available on Amazon, you will be able to see the Look Inside arrow on your book’s landing page on Amazon.

Readers can see a preview of both your ebook and print book. It’s a limited number of pages, so don’t worry about giving too much away. The ebook preview shows the cover and several of the first pages, not usually more than 10 or so. At the end of the preview, there is a prompt to encourage previewers to purchase the book. 

On the left, there’s an option to order a sample of the book for free delivered to your Kindle. Again, it’s not a huge amount of material, but it might be enough to prompt someone to buy. 

The print preview shows the front and back covers, copyright, table of contents, first few pages and a “Surprise Me!” option which takes previewers to a random section of the book.

There is also a search option. You can’t actually go to those pages in the preview, but it does list the sentence and page number of each occurrence of the words you searched for. It also helps readers find your book in any search on Amazon. So if a reader wants to find a book about “La Yacata” and searches for those keywords, my books have a higher probability of appearing before his or her wondering eyes even if “La Yacata” is not in the title.

As an author, you can capitalize on this feature by making sure you have no grammatical or orthographical errors in the preview. Nothing turns a reader off faster than mistakes. You could also be creative with your front matter placement to draw the reader in.

Assignment: Check out some books via the Look Inside option on Amazon. How can you capitalize on this feature as an author?

Blog to Book Project — Genealogy or List of Characters

Although most often found in fiction books, you may also want to include a List of Characters in your blog to book project if it would be hard for the reader to keep track of the people and relationships in your story without a guide. You can organize the list by order of appearance or family groups or overlapping relationships, whichever would be most useful for the reader.

You can eliminate some of the confusion in your book by using the same nicknames or given names throughout the story. Don’t call the neighbor Fred in one chapter and Mr. Miller in the next. Be consistent. 

It might be useful to include a genealogy in some situations especially if there is something unique about the family tree that pertains to the story. For instance, the main characters might be cousins twice removed that had met at a family reunion as children and reconnected as adults. Instead of going through the intricacies in the text, a mere mention with reference to the genealogy at the beginning of the book might suffice. 

There are many free templates available online to help you create an attractive genealogy to include in your book. 

Assignment: Create a List of Characters or Geneology for your book. Review your book to make sure you are consistent in name-use.

Blog to Book Project — Foreword

A foreword is usually written by someone other than the author. It might describe the interaction between the writer of the foreword and the author of the book. Or it could talk about the information and relevance of the book on a social, historical or cultural level. A foreword is often fewer than two pages. 

Generally, the foreword is not written by just anyone, but someone that is considered an expert in his or her field. Therefore the foreword serves as something of an endorsement of the author or book to follow. 

If the book is a compilation, the editor may write the foreword. 

If a book has had several editions published, sometimes a new foreword is included before a previous foreword. The newer foreword could talk about how the updated edition differs from the first or why the book has become culturally relevant again if it is a public domain edition. 

This is the only section of the book that is signed by the author of the foreword. Any titles or affiliations associated with the author of the foreword is also listed.

As a general rule, this section is not numbered as part of the book. If it is paginated, it uses lowercase Roman numerals.

In some instances, an author may write the foreword. When this is the case, the section may discuss how the idea of the book was developed and could even include acknowledgments. 

Assignment: Do you know someone that would lend credibility to your book by writing the foreword? Have you made a formal request?

Blog to Book Project — Preface

The preface is written by the author and addressed to the readers directly. It is more often found in non-fiction books. 

You could tell the readers why you wrote the book. Does it fill a need? Were you inspired by a particular incident? What is the purpose of this book?  

You could also talk about the writing process. Why did you decide to turn your blog into a book? What were the challenges you overcame? How did you change or what did you learn in the process of writing this book? How did you research it? How long did it take you to write this book?

Yet another aspect you could write about is reader assistance. What will the reader gain by reading it? Should it be read in a specific manner?

Finally, you could summarize the material contained in the book. What are the major themes? What are the steps to the final goal? What are the highlights of each chapter?

Choose one of these viewpoints in order to keep the preface short, less than two pages is ideal. 

This section is also paginated with lowercase Roman numerals as part of the front matter. If there are two prefaces, one written by the author and the other by the editor, the editor’s preface comes first.  If there is both a preface and a foreword, the foreword is first. 

Assignment: Decide which aspect you would like to discuss in your preface. 

Blog to Book Project — Introduction

The introduction introduces the subject of the book. It may also be referred to as the prolegomenon. This section states the goals and purpose of the main text. It could provide a brief summary or explain aspects that should be understood before reading the text. 

The introduction can be included as part of the front matter or the first section of the main body. If it is part of the front matter, it uses lowercase Roman numerals for pagination. If it is included in the main body, standard pagination applies. 

Don’t skimp on the quality of your introduction. Amazon allows readers to have a “sneak peek” of your book with the Look Inside option. Providing this little tidbit in the form of a stellar introduction can be the difference between a sale and no sale.

Consider answering these questions directly in your introduction:

  • What problem does your book solve?

There are so many competitors out there. If your book can solve any issue for your reader, highlight it. 

  • How does your book solve that problem?

Tell readers what type of information they will find that will help them resolve that issue.

  • Why are you qualified to provide this information?

Perhaps this problem was something you studied or learned through experience. Tell your readers why you are an “expert.”

  • How will your book improve your readers’ lives?

Make your book part of a bigger picture for your readers. Not only will you be able to do X but with this skill, you can finally achieve Y. 

  • What proof can you give readers that their problem will be solved by reading your book?

This would be a great place to include brief testimonials. 

  • What does your book promise to provide?

Include something of a disclaimer here. While everyone’s situation is unique, learning X can help you do Z. 

  • Encourage readers to begin reading RIGHT NOW!

Here is the call to action. Readers should feel inspired to begin your book (or purchase it if they are reading this with the Look Inside feature.)

Be sure to proofread this section carefully. Spelling and grammar errors will turn off potential readers. Remember to keep this section to about two pages as well. 

Assignment: Write your introduction. Proofread it. Does it inspire action?

Blog to Book Project — Prologue

A prologue is a scene or event that occurs prior to the point in which the book begins. This section is most often found in fiction. As a rule of thumb, if you have a prologue, you should also have an epilogue. 

The prologue should set the stage as it were. It provides information that helps the reader understand the following book. It can be written in character or as a direct address to the reader. 

A prologue could:

  • Provide the backstory to the events in the book. These might include historical events or dramatic moments that caused or influenced later actions. 
  • Intrigue the reader so that he or she continues reading. Consider how to make the information in the prologue arouse the interest of the reader. Can you make it suspenseful or mysterious? Does it trigger strong emotions? Do the characters find themselves in desperate situations in need of resolution?
  • Be told from a completely different point of view. Perhaps the villain imparts some useful information in the prologue while the main story is told through the eyes of the heroine.

Keep it short! A page or two at most should be enough. The idea is to pique a reader’s interest, not reveal information that is contained later in the book. 


Assignment: If you plan to include this section, write your prologue.

Blog to Book Project — Title Page

Frontispiece

The frontispiece is a page with an illustration that is before the title page. It usually is facing the title page on the left hand (verso) side. This picture might be an illustration from the book, the author’s portrait or a dramatic rendition of the book’s topic. 

You don’t need a frontispiece, but it is a nice addition. In my books, I often have a smaller version of the cover illustration without any text. Remember, you should have permission to use or own the copyright for any illustration you include. 

Half-title Page 

The half-title page is a page which only has the title of the book on it. Sometimes the title has a bit of decorative script or ornamentation about it. The author’s name, subtitle, publisher and edition are not included on this page. The reverse is usually left blank.

The half-title page is counted as the first numbered page in a printed book even if it doesn’t actually have a number on it. It is part of the front matter and would use lowercase Roman numerals for numbering. It should be on the right side (recto). Hardback books still include the half-title page, but paperback books typically leave it out. 

A second half-title page is sometimes included after the front matter before the first page of the first chapter or part. It is almost always identical to the first half-title page. 

Title Page

The title page should have the title, subtitle, author’s name and publishing company and city (or city and state). It also may include editor’s name, illustrator’s name, translator’s name, edition of the book, series number and year of publication. 

You may also see:

With an introduction by….

Foreword written by…

Prologue by… 

The reverse side of the title page is often the copyright page. 

If you wish to add illustrations, creatively use font, or add some decorative bits, then feel free as long as the information on the title page is still clearly visible and legible. 

Assignment: Design your title page. If you will be including a half-title page, design that. If you have a frontispiece, set it up. 

Blog to Book Project — Testimonials

A testimonial is a formal statement testifying to your book’s value and indirectly, your qualifications as an author. Whether you include them in your book or on your landing page, testimonials are powerful influencers that literally sing your book’s praises. 

If you plan on including testimonials in your book, you should try to gather them together BEFORE your book is published. Otherwise, you need to add them later and upload your manuscript again. 

You could request a testimonial from other writers who have read your book or experts on the topic your book focuses on. Look for endorsements from someone that inspires confidence in you or your book. So although your mom would love to write a testimonial, unless she is an expert in her field, maybe pass. 

Asking for a testimonial doesn’t have to be difficult. Begin your request with flattery because it will get you everywhere. Explain how this person or his or her work inspired you, changed your life, or means the world to you. Be sure to state that if this person needs a testimonial for a book or endorsement for a business, that you would be happy to reciprocate in this manner.

Then tell this person exactly what you are requesting from them which is a few lines about your book before a not too distant but not too imminent date. 

Finally, ask how he or she would like their name and credentials listed. Offer to include a link to a business or website. If someone prefers to remain anonymous, clarify if using their initials or a pseudonym would be acceptable.

Amazon has a Look Inside feature which could highlight those testimonials very well if you decide to have a testimonial page included in your book. If you do, place them as close to the beginning of the book as you can get since Amazon only shows the first few pages. 

Amazon also allows you to add testimonials to the book’s landing page via your Author Central page and they appear on the book’s landing page on Amazon. This is much simpler to update since you aren’t constantly uploading your manuscript for each new testimonial. However, you’ll need to decide where your testimonials would work best for you. 

Don’t go overboard with the number of testimonials you use. A page and a half of praises are probably sufficient. If you have more than that, consider including some in your book and others on your landing page so that readers aren’t overwhelmed with your greatness. 

Assignment: Gather testimonials to include either in your book or on your book’s landing page.

Blog to Book Project — Conclusion or Epilogue

An epilogue is found mostly in fiction books. This is a short section that concludes the end of the story. It might take place immediately after the events of the story or there could be a leap of years or decades. It can also be used to segue into another series of events that are covered in a sequel to the book.

In a non-fiction book, this section could be called the Conclusion. A conclusion wraps up any loose ends the book doesn’t address. It might talk about what happened to the people mentioned in the book later or if the events in the book predated or caused other historically significant occurrences.

Both an epilogue and conclusion are written as if they were part of the book. If the point of view is different than that of the main text, then this section is properly termed an Afterword. 

The Conclusion or Epilogue should only be a page or two. If you can’t wrap things up properly at that point, either continue in a sequel or go back to the main book and add more chapters. 

Assignment: Write the Conclusion of your book. Is everything summed up nicely? Are loose ends tied off? Will there be another book that continues the story? This would be the place to mention that.